Lawyer Sebu Aslangil says Istanbul Governor’s interference with the patriarchal elections is “completely unlawful.”
According to him, the administration doesn’t have the authority.”
On March 15, the Clerical Assembly in Istanbul elected Karekin Bekdjian, Primate of the German Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church as Locum Tenens (Patriarchal alternate).
Following the election, a notice was handed out by Archbishop Aram Ateshian to the Clerical Assembly that stated that it was illegal to start the election process.
“Only the Armenian society has the authority to start the election process. Clerical Assembly started the process with the decision it made on October 16. It decided to elect Locum Tenens and realized the decision. If the administration wanted to interfere, it should have done so after this decision. It would make more sense if it stated, ‘This decision is not proper.’ However, by saying nothing about it, it legally and virtually accepted the procedure,” Sebu Aslangil said in a statement published by Agos.
“Given that no complaint has been made to the administration, it is impossible to talk about such a disturbance. This reason cannot constitute a ground for thinking that the election won’t be right. They could have interfered after what happened on February 16. The governor’s office hasn’t done that either. This notice is arbitrary. The election conforms to the proceedings and traditions. Starting the election is quite lawful,” the lawyer said.
“On this point, we can talk about the scope of influence of the General Vicar. According to our traditions, the v doesn’t have the authority to start election. There is also no regulation concerning the limits of the Vicar’s authority. Thus, the General Vicar doesn’t have the authority to stop the process of election. The existence of vicar doesn’t have anything to do with the process of election,” he added.
Aslangil also pointed out that there is a pending case concerning the vicarship in the constitutional court and this seat is not legally confirmed yet.